Negative thinking comes to us quite naturally. When we are used to thinking negatively, we don’t realise the impact it has on our emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing. We might feel that our challenges are external, but our thinking can distort reality. Negative thoughts can be exhausting and make us feel as though we’re constantly battling with ourselves. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Understanding What Constitutes a Negative Thought
A negative thought is any thought that has the potential to harm your wellbeing. These thoughts can be about anything from your abilities, your self-worth, other people and your relationships. The quality of our thoughts is influenced by a variety of factors, including our diet and sleep.
Negative thoughts can take many different forms. Some of them are very subtle, and they may not seem negative at all. However, they can trigger negative emotions and an overall depressed state. We need to pay attention to how they make us feel.
It’s important to be aware of these thoughts and know when they have the potential to harm your mental health. If you find that you have negative thoughts on a daily basis, you should seek out help. These thoughts, if left unchecked, can lead into mental states that are difficult to navigate such as depression, anxiety, or panic, and to behaviours and choices that are harmful.
The wonderful news is that we have so much control over reality – by learning to let go of negative thoughts we can change how we feel and the trajectories of our lives.
Why is it Important to Let Go of Negative Thoughts?
Negative thoughts are self-destructive. They are rooted in fears and past experiences, and they can paint a grim picture of your future that has nothing to do with reality. As you continue to let these thoughts dwell in your mind, they will begin to manifest themselves in your daily life. They will show up in your interactions with others, your job performance and your relationship. If you believe what these thoughts tell you, they can prevent you from taking inspired action, engaging with loving relationships, and enjoy your talents and skills.
They can cause you to feel ashamed, inadequate and alone. They can make you feel as though you are unworthy and undeserving of love and affection. If you find that you are constantly experiencing negative thoughts, you can take steps to let these thoughts go. You can transform your life by letting go of negative thoughts and learning how to be positive.
Three Tips for Letting Go of Negative Thoughts
Mindfulness – This is the first step in letting go of negative thoughts. You must understand that these thoughts are occurring in your mind, but they don’t have to be a part of you. You decide. As soon as you realize that you are thinking negatively, say to yourself: “I am letting go of this thought.” You must let go of these thoughts before they have a chance to become a part of you, before they take you down some dark alley. By saying these words (outloud or quietly), you are making a promise to yourself that you will not let the negative thoughts take hold of you.
Writing – Writing can be an incredibly therapeutic way of getting your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper. By writing about your negative thoughts, you are taking a step towards letting go of them. Whatever it is that you are feeling, let it out on paper. Don’t hold back. By letting go of negative thoughts, you are letting go of a part of yourself that is no longer useful.
Meditation – When you sit down and meditate, your mind is given the opportunity to take a break from all of the thoughts, feelings and daily stressors that can bring you down. In meditation, you are supposed to be still. When you are still, you are able to hear your own thoughts without letting them take over your mind. You can then decide whether or not these thoughts are beneficial to you. Observe them and know yourself as the observer of these thoughts.
Let Go of the Past
You might be dwelling on something that happened to you years ago and refusing to let go of it. By refusing to let go of these negative thoughts, you are doing yourself a disservice, holding yourself hostage. You are holding yourself back from moving forward and living a happier life.
To shift from dwelling on the past and start living in the present, you need to forgive yourself and others. It is important to understand that you are imperfect and you will make mistakes. We all make mistakes. It is part of being human. If you feel as though you made a mistake in the past, forgiving yourself is the first step towards letting go of that mistake.
Recurring thoughts about the past can point to unresolved emotions. In this way, they are valuable information. Let go of the thoughts and stories, and connect emotionally – as you allow your emotions to surface and release, you will find inner peace.
Learn to Stay Present
You cannot change the past, but you can grow and learn from your experiences in the present. Being present in the moment is the only way to truly live your life. It’s the only way to take in the good things that are happening to you right now.
Everyone deserves to enjoy the present moment and to create their future free from the baggage of the past. What do you want to create now? Turn your focus to what lights up your soul now when negativity sneaks in.
If you are struggling with stubborn negative thought patterns, you can use a mantra each time the thoughts show up. In time, the mind learns to let go on its own.
Three Ways to be Positive
Focus on what is going well. Focus is everything. If you find that you are constantly thinking negatively, you need to change your focus. You need to acknowledge what is going well in your life. If you are having a bad day and you find yourself thinking negatively, try to shift your focus to something positive. Gratitude practices are a wonderful way to shift your perspective. Turn your focus to what you are grateful to have in your life – be it a beautiful song on the radio or someone you love.
Practice self-care— Negative thinking is exhausting. It will sap you of your energy and make you feel as though you are constantly battling yourself. When you engage in self-care and treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated, you will find that you have the energy to focus on the positive aspects of your life. You will have the energy to be happy. You will have the energy to let go of negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
Surround yourself with positive people – If you find that you are constantly thinking negatively, it might be time to reevaluate your friends and the people you surround yourself with. You need to be surrounded by positive people who have your best interests at heart. You need people who will lift you up when you are feeling down and who will help you get rid of the negative thoughts. You need people who will bring you joy and happiness.
Change how you speak – The more we iterate our difficulties and challenges, the more we become entrenched in negativity and block ourselves from changing our circumstances. Find a more peaceful way of engaging so you can open the doors to beautiful possibilities.
New Thoughts, New Life
Negative thoughts have the power to change how we feel and how we experience life. They keep us hostage to a version of reality that we don’t enjoy. But we always have the power to shift this – incredible change happens when we learn to let go of negativity. Try it today. Observe and let go. See what happens.